Author(s), Title and Publication
Meng, J., & Berger, B. K. (2019). The impact of organizational culture and leadership performance on PR professionals’ job satisfaction: Testing the joint mediating effects of engagement and trust. Public Relations Review, 45(1), 64-75. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.11.002

As the importance of strategic public relations practice has become more recognized, so too has the need for a supportive environment to enhance the productivity and work quality of public relations professionals and the overall efficiency and value of their practice. Though the capacity of supportive organizational culture and leadership in facilitating effective public relations practice is recognized at the organizational level, little research has explored the specific consequences (e.g., engagement and trust) and traditional employee outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction) that such conditions might generate at the individual practitioner level, let alone the complicated relationships those organizational factors could possibly build into each other. Hence, the authors of the current study conducted a national online survey of public relations professionals in the U.S. (N = 838) that focused on supportive organizational culture and excellent leader performance as two related and essential conditions for fostering professionals’ work engagement, trust, and job satisfaction.

The results of the study confirmed that the existence of a supportive organizational culture is antecedent to enhanced engagement and trust. In this regard, a supportive culture that understands the value of public relations, shares decision-making power, practices two-way communication, and embraces diversity is crucial. Second, the study confirmed that strong leadership performance demonstrated by the top communication leader in the organization affects professionals’ engagement and trust. In this regard, excellent leader performance in the communication unit drives the organization to value the importance and contribution of public relations, resulting in increased confidence among professionals. Hence, organizations with an effective communication leader who can articulate and create the conditions for strong leadership seem to be more effective in engaging professionals and increasing their trust level. Third, the results of this study indicated that crucial organizational conditions (i.e., supportive organizational culture and excellent leader performance) still have an indirect influence on professionals’ overall job satisfaction, through positive mediating factors of engagement and trust. Furthermore, results suggested that engagement is a much stronger predictor of professionals’ job satisfaction through its direct influence on building trust in organizations.  Finally, the results of this study suggested that engagement is an important factor in fostering professionals’ positive attitudes, intentions, and behaviors.

Implications for Practice
PR leaders should (1) be aware that a supportive culture and a strong leadership performance in public relations facilitate the organization’s communication and development initiatives to increase professionals’ work engagement, (2) help their organizations create processes and practices that encourage and involve employees in decision-making and best-practice sharing, and (3) help arm front-line supervisors with skills to help them facilitate power sharing in their teams, as well as across the organization.

Location of Article
This article is available online at:

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
Follow on Twitter

Leave a Reply